During the course of 2016 the role of Head of Actuarial Function (HOAF) was introduced effectively replacing the role of Signing Actuary and Appointed Actuary.  One year on individuals have settled into their roles and have completed the first round of reporting requirements. These reporting responsibilities include the actuarial opinion on technical provisions as well as Solvency II QRT’s to the Central Bank. A key duty is also to present the the Actuarial Report on Technical Provisions (ARTP) and their actuarial opinion on the ORSA process to the Board.

Whilst in most cases there are teams of people helping the HOAF to get their reports ready, at the end of the day the responsibility for the accuracy and credibility of the reports lies with the HOAF.  The individuals in these positions need to be pre-approved by the CBI under their Fitness and Probity process.  Where some of the Senior Actuaries in consultancy firms have approval to act for a broad group of companies, Actuaries in industry are only approved by the CBI for one company at a time.

One of the challenges in recruiting a new HOAF to this senior actuarial role is that often companies have to make a leap of faith in making an offer to a senior Actuary whilst at the same time applying to the Central Bank for approval to appoint them to the HOAF role. Candidates also take a leap of faith, as they are accepting a position, resigning from their current roles whilst facing the uncertainty of potentially having approval turned down by the Central Bank. This is a role with high responsibility and as one Senior Actuary put it to us recently “this role carries its responsibilities 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and for 52 weeks a year”.  Whilst this position could face a fine or ultimately jail time on a more positive note it is highly likely that HOAF’s of today will be the INEDS of the future, so it is a just reward for the pressures of the current role.

What skills are required to be an effective Head of Actuarial Function (HOAF)?

In order to become an effective candidate for a role such as this, candidates must have the following competencies:

  • Technical & Regulatory Expertise –  The individual in this role should be a technical expert in their area as well as having confidence and belief in their own skills.
  • Technical Judgement –  The individual needs to be able to make judgements using their technical expertise and available data.
  • Be able to Challenge and Question – They should have the experience to question those around them including the various committees (reserving etc).
  • Leadership Skills – They should be able to lead and motivate others in a manner that enables their teams to communicate openly with them.
  • Communication skills – This person needs to be able to translate and present highly technical work into a format that is clearly understood by senior management and members of the board who may not be technical themselves.

The board is not able to delegate responsibility for decisions to the HOAF.  The board is therefore reliant on the information provided by the HOAF in order to make appropriate decisions. It is clear that the Head of Actuarial Function (HOAF) role is a very responsible position.

With Brexit and new insurance entities looking for a licence to trade in Ireland there are a number of new HOAF roles on the horizon.  If you are interested in being considered for a Head of Actuarial Function role then register with us today.

To have a look at one of our current HOAF vacancies click here.

If you are an employer looking for a new Head of Actuarial function or perhaps looking at your succession plans for your current HOAF then get in touch or call Jacqui van Teutem at Raretec Recruitment on 015311400 or on 0862931015 or through email at jacqui.vanteutem@raretec.ie.

For another interesting view of the HOAF role have a read of the following article that Joe Kennnedy (a very experienced and knowledgable actuary) published on linkedin in 2016 – Click here for the link.